Thursday, January 7, 2010
Kindle for the new year
So I have been torn between Kindle resistance and Kindle curiosity for a while now, and I decided to have it both ways by buying one for Matt for Christmas. (He rides the Bart to Berkeley almost every day, and can use the device to read PDF's rather than having to carry a ridiculously heavy bag on his commute). Partly I'm a luddite (albeit an online writing teacher who would be out of work without the internet) and like many others I still love the feeling of a book in hand, cover art, reading in the bath, and most especially browsing at bookstores. Also, one of my job perks is that I get a lot of the books I want to read for free. But there is something alluring about click-and-buy bookshopping too, reading a review of a book that sounds good and being able to start it within minutes--and for a third the cost of the hardback. Which is what I just did two nights ago, purchasing Joanna Grodstein's A Friend of the Family upon the recommendation of my friend Nick, with whom fifty percent of our conversations center around what we've been reading lately. I'm now a quarter of the way into it, and I still can't decide if I'm getting the same experience reading on the Kindle that I would in a "real" book. While a bar at the bottom of the screen tells you what percent of the book you've read (26%, to be exact) it's weird not being able to flip the pages to the end of a chapter, to know exactly how much more you'll be reading before turning off the lights for bed. I also find the way that one page vanishes and the print of the next appears in its place to be disconcerting. Still, I am aware that I am late on this Kindle bandwagon, and lots of other people have clearly gotten used to reading in this new form, and so should I probably. I have this strong suspicion that with the actual paper and ink novel that I have coming out in March might be my last paper and ink novel, that by the time I have another one finished and ready (knock on...wood? Screen?) books as we know them might be books as we knew them. But I can't help but feel that the ephemeral nature of the digital novel rather than the printed novel is going to translate less literally to the reader's experience, that I will not remember this book as vividly and viscerally as I would have if I'd been flipping actual pages.
Posted by Malena Watrous at 3:01 PM